News & Opinion

Calcium may play a role in the development of Parkinson’s disease

February 19, 2018

The international team, led by the University of Cambridge, found that calcium can mediate the interaction between small membranous structures inside nerve endings, which are important for neuronal signalling in the brain, and alpha-synuclein, the protein associated with Parkinson’s disease. Excess levels of either calcium or alpha-synuclein may be what starts the chain reaction that…

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Why young New Zealanders self-harm – and what you can do about it

February 17, 2018

New Zealand has a high rate of self-harm among young people, but there are ways to help them cope, writes Victoria University psychology professor and Listener columnist Marc Wilson. “All the people I see hurt themselves,” said the clinical psychologist from the Youth Specialty Service. “What do you mean, like accidents?” I asked. “No, they…

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Additional research funding for rare cancers

February 15, 2018

The Federal Government has announced a $69 million boost to help medical researchers in their fight against rare cancers and rare diseases. The funding is aimed at assisting patients who often have few options and poor life expectancy. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Government was committed to investing in research to find the answers…

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Exercise helps muscles and organs communicate

February 15, 2018

Researchers have shown, for the first time, why exercise has positive health effects across the entire body. The new Australian research, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, reveals tiny protein-filled packages, called vesicles, are used by our muscles and other organs to communicate with each other during exercise. Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research undertook…

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To close the health gap, we need programs that work. Here are three of them

February 13, 2018

The tenth Closing the Gap report to be tabled in Parliament today is expected to show progress in the two health targets — to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031 and halve the child mortality (death) gap by 2018. But only the latter is on track. The Indigenous death rate has dropped by…

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Novel motion capture-like technology for tracking how proteins fold into certain

February 13, 2018

In many modern animated movies, the trick to achieving realistic movements for individual characters and objects lies in motion-capture technology. This process often involves someone wearing a tracking suit covered in small, colored balls while a camera captures the position of those colored balls, which is then used to represent how the person is moving.…

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Scientists develop DNA nanorobots capable of stopping cancer growth

February 13, 2018

In a major breakthrough, scientists have successfully developed tiny nanorobots made of DNA and protein that can be directed at tumours, stopping them from growing. The study was led by researchers at the National Centre for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and involved the head of the…

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Anti-obesity programmes aren’t working in UK schools

February 8, 2018

A year-long anti-obesity programme in UK schools had no noticeable effect on children’s health. The programme increased physical activity in schools, instituted a healthy eating programme with local sporting heroes and held workshops on healthy cooking for families. Fifteen months after the kids started the programme, there was no difference in weight, body fat measurements,…

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Internationally-renowned NZ-born medic was relatively unknown back home

February 8, 2018

An internationally-renowned neurologist who grew up in New Plymouth became better known overseas where he taught at some of the world’s foremost universities and hospitals. Derek Denny-Brown was born in Christchurch but went to school at New Plymouth Boys’ High School after his parents moved to the city in 1913. He is one of several…

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New Zealand Health Research: Research finds emotional attachment to cigarettes to be a barrier in the switch to vaping

February 8, 2018

Research finds emotional attachment to cigarettes to be a barrier in the switch to vaping A New Zealand study has found that some people still find quitting smoking difficult, even when vaping is offered as a smoking cessation intervention. The Otago University study involved in-depth interviews with 20 vapers who still smoked traditional cigarettes regularly,…

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